Thumbs Away!

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Learners discover how important their thumbs are by attempting various tasks without them. After tying up their thumbs, learners attempt to legibly write their names or play catch with a tennis ball. Use this activity to emphasize how important parts are to help an entire system function. When learners set up a free account at Kinetic City, they can answer bonus questions at the end of the activity as a quick assessment. As a larger assessment, learners can complete the Bug Blaster game after they've completed several activities.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Heavy tape, yarn, or two pieces of fabric, like bandanas or long handkerchiefs.
  • A shirt or coat with buttons or a zipper (that you can unbutton or unzip without totally undressing!)
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Paper clips
  • A tennis ball or another soft ball
  • pencil or pen


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Skeleton
      • Muscles and Skin
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Touch

Informal Categories

  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • use mouse
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • All rights reserved, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2009

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation